Showing posts with label American music history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American music history. Show all posts

Sunday, April 09, 2017

The real Rock and Roll High School

By Jack Brummet

This is kind of a mindf***er. Staples high school in Westport, Connecticut, in the early days of US touring rock, had concerts over two years by:

  • Sky and The Family Stone
  • Cream
  • The Doors
  • The Animals
  • The Yardbirds
  • The Rascals

A documentary is on the way:


Monday, April 03, 2017

Bob Dylan raps on a 1986 track by Kurtis Blow

"Danny [Lanois] asked me who I’d been listening to recently, and I told him Ice-T. He was surprised, but he shouldn’t have been. A few years earlier, Kurtis Blow, a rapper from Brooklyn who had a hit out called “The Breaks,” had asked me to be on one of his records and he familiarized me with that stuff, Ice-T, Public Enemy, N.W.A., Run-D.M.C. These guys definitely weren’t standing around bullshitting. They were beating drums, tearing it up, hurling horses over cliffs. They were all poets and they knew what was going on." — Bob Dylan, in his biography Chronicles, Volume 1
As Dangerous Minds wrote, "It’s not terrible by any stretch but it is surely slight; the tracks true virtues all flow from Blow."

You can hear Dylan (sort of) rapping at the beginning of the song, and at 6:12.  


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Thank you Chuck Berry

By Jack Brummet, American Music History Ed.

Thanks for the music, and rock and roll in general, Chuck.

I wonder what people at the other end of the line will think if they are able to play that record on the Voyager?


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Take A Load Off Your Feet—one of the very strangest Beach Boys tracks

By Jack Brummet, Music Ed.

After Brian Wilson lost his way, his songwriting became, for a time, extremely bizarre.  This is probably one of The Beach Boys top five weird tracks. . .Brian Wilson's ode to good foot care.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Amazing sounding 1929 recording by Louis Armstrong

By Jack Brummet Jazz Ed.

Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra play Ain't Misbehavin' from what's called a mother record,or, metal disc produced from the master disc.


Saturday, May 09, 2015

Listen to Kurt Cobain's amazing "mix-tape," *Montage of Heck*

By Jack Brummet, Music History Ed.

I am posting this image because I just listened to Kurt's fascinating [you can't really call it a mix tape] tape "Montage of Heck" for the second time.

The tape includes among many pretty hilarious sound effects, Foley clips, and obscure snippets of sound. United Mutilations identified these components of Kurt's Montage of Heck:

“The Men In My Little Girl’s Life” by Mike Douglas
“The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” by The Beatles
“A Day In The Life” by The Beatles
“Eruption” by Van Halen
“Hot Pants” by James Brown
“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” by Cher
“Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond
“Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver
“Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin
“The Candy Man” by Sammy Davis, Jr.
“In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly
“Wild Thing” by William Shatner
“Taxman” by The Beatles
“I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family
“Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?” by The Barbarians
“Queen Of The Reich” by Queensryche
“Last Caress/Green Hell” covered by Metallica
“Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
“Get Down, Make Love” by Queen
“ABC” by The Jackson Five
“I Want Your Sex” by George Michael
“Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden
“Eye Of The Chicken” by Butthole Surfers
“Dance of the Cobra” by Butthole Surfers
“The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey’s Grave” by Butthole Surfers
“New Age” by The Velvet Underground
“Love Buzz” by Shocking Blue
Orchestral music from 200 Motels by Frank Zappa
“Help I’m A Rock” / “It Can’t Happen Here” by Frank Zappa
“Call Any Vegetable” by Frank Zappa
“The Day We Fall In Love” by The Monkees
“Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath (intro)
Theme from The Andy Griffith Show
Mike Love (of The Beach Boys) talking about “Transcendental Meditation”
Excerpts of Jimi Hendrix speaking at the Monterey Pop Festival
Excerpts of Paul Stanley from KISS’ Alive!
Excerpts of Daniel Johnston screaming about Satan
Excerpts from sound effects records
Various children’s records (Curious George, Sesame Street, The Flintstones, Star Wars).

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

One of the great rock voices Karen Carpenter died 31 years ago today: listen to Yesterday Once More a capella

By Jack Brummet, American Music Ed.

One of the great rock voices of all time. Karen Carpenter died on this day in 1983 from complications related to anorexia. 

Over the years, people have released her songs with isolated--or almost isolated--vocal tracks. This is my favorite KC tune.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Grateful Dead 1991 - Turn On Your Lovelight - with Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis

By Jack Brummet, Rock Ed.

Some of my favorite Dead shows were from the dark time after Brent died and Bruce Hornsby joined the band for a year and a half. Things got even better when Branford Marsalis came along. He played many shows with them around that same period. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Posies "Failure" reissued

By Jack Brummet

The Posies played a fantastic show Saturday night at Seattle's Triple Door.  They were alternately fascinated to be playing this, and trepidatious about revisiting the album they recorded when they were seventeen years old.  It was an amazing performance.  Watch the trailer below, and then go buy a copy of their remastered and expanded album, even in Green Vinyl if you have a phonograph. . .


Monday, August 25, 2014

A different pitch: pandhandling outside The Posies show in Seattle last night

By Jack Brummet, Rock and Roll Ed.

We went to the great Posies show last night at the Triple Door in Seattle, celebrating the re-release of the wonderful album that launched their careers.  They recorded this in a basement studio when they were 17 years old.  It was wonderful to see them a little nervously perform this album once again, and see them experience all the emotions of reliving the recording and release, and early moments of their great careers. It's far better than they think.

In any case, leaving the show most happily, we encountered this guy.  Definitely a cut above the usual panhandler.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Woody Guthrie's New Year Resolutions

By Jack Brummet, Music Ed. 

Woody Guthrie wrote these rulins' a/k/a resolutions in either 1941, 1942, or 1943, depending on who is writing or talking.  The "official" Woody Guthrie website says they appear in one of his journals dated January 1, 1943 (at the very centerfold of the notebook).   

click to enlarge

Whenever he wrote them, he was 30-32 years old and this list is, like most of his work, a fascinating amalgam of innocent, funny, and wise.  

If you're a psychology student, it's kind of fascinating how these  map onto Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs (although many fall into the cracks between the levels).
Text of the journal entry:

1. Work more and better
2. Work by a schedule
3. Wash teeth if any
4. Shave
5. Take bath
6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
7. Drink very scant if any
8. Write a song a day
9. Wear clean clothes — look good
10. Shine shoes
11. Change socks
12. Change bed cloths often
13. Read lots good books
14. Listen to radio a lot
15. Learn people better
16. Keep rancho clean
17. Dont get lonesome
18. Stay glad
19. Keep hoping machine running
20. Dream good
21. Bank all extra money
22. Save dough
23. Have company but dont waste time
24. Send Mary and kids money
25. Play and sing good
26. Dance better
27. Help win war — beat fascism
28. Love mama
29. Love papa
30. Love Pete
31. Love everybody
32. Make up your mind
33. Wake up and fight

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mezz Mezzrow, American jazz hero

By Jack Brummet, American Music Ed.

Reading American jazz clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow's biography 'Really the Blues' tonight. What a sweet, insightful, and marijuana-laced book. It is way more a microscope on the expansive and kaleidoscopic personality of Mezz Mezzrow than an actual, or factual, retelling of his life, kind of like a lot of the great autobiographies I've read (Keith Richards', Bob Dylan's, and Charles Mingus's come immediately to mind). So many sweet stories about his mentor Louis Armstrong, struggling to bring real jazz to NYC, and missing the music of Chicago. About being a Jewish boy in what was an African-American racket, and eventually becoming a link between black and white players in the Jim Crow era. The language is amazing, and at times incandescent--a kind of hybrid of Lord Buckley, Louis Armstrong, and Tom Wolfe. There is no question in my mind that this book, published in 1946, influenced The Beats and specifically Jack Kerouac, who to my ear, clearly lifted rhythms and language from Mezz. And good on him--he picked the right guy to lift from.

Mezz writes about going with Louis Armstrong to the RCA recording studio in Camden, New Jersey:

"In the dead of night we drove up to a large red brick church. I wondered if we were going to have a special prayer service, but when we went through the chapel door I saw it was a recording studio. `This is funny, ain't it, Mezz,' Louis said, `jammin' in a ole church.' I came back with `Where else should Gabriel blow?'" Yeah.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Old friends Willie Nelson and Jimmy Carter discuss the White House rooftop marijuana incident

By Pablo Fanque, National Affairs Ed.

An article/interview with two of my favorite people, from Entertainment Weekly, almost ten years ago. At the end, they hilariously discuss an incident which at the time was pretty controversial. . .

The Prez sits in on harp

Old friends

On the porch

By Chris Willman | Dec 03, 2004

"That was one of the things that Willie 
and I never did discuss much. But I 
don't think there's  much doubt. . ." 

Willie Nelson has sung ''Georgia on My Mind'' for former president Jimmy Carter many times — first, on the campaign trail in 1976, and as recently as the 2002 ceremony in Oslo where Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He serenades his ''favorite president ever'' again on Dec. 4's CMT Homecoming: President Carter in Plains special, filmed in Carter's still-minuscule Georgia hometown, where EW caught up with the former farm boys and occasional jogging partners.

The Bush girls claim their dad is down with OutKast. But in '76, it was radical for a candidate to quote Dylan. Did you feel like you were doing something dangerous, aligning yourself with countercultural characters like him and Willie?

CARTER I think that was one of the reasons I won, because I did align myself with characters like these, who were admired by hundreds of millions around the world.... I think as much as any performer who has ever lived, Willie has had an intimate and natural relationship with working people.... When I was in trouble in the White House or needed to be alone, just to relax — I'm a fly fisherman, and I would tie flies in my study, where Truman used to work, while Willie Nelson's songs played on the hi-fi.... So all the good things I did or, of course, all the mistakes I've made, you could kind of blame half that on Willie.

Willie, you're political in some ways, stumping for Kucinich this year, but apolitical in others; you haven't sung the antiwar song you wrote for him in concert.

NELSON I think it's important we have a change in the direction our country is going, but I sing to Democrats and Republicans every night. I don't want to do or say anything that's going to make half my audience get up and leave the building.... I look at it like my job is to bring people together, singing ''Amazing Grace'' [at the end of a show].

Willie's book said he smoked pot on the White House roof. Mr. President, what did you know and when did you know it?

CARTER I would guess that Willie and my sons knew a lot more about that than I did. That was one of the things that Willie and I never did discuss much. But I don't think there's much doubt that there was—

NELSON Actually, short-term memory — I don't remember a lot that happened then.

CARTER [Both laughing] Yeah, my memory's kind of short on that subject, too.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Waylon Jennings, Buddy Holly, a photo booth, Waylon's accidental good luck, and the day the music died

Waylon Jennings and Buddy Holly (and someone else's finger) in a Times Square photo booth.  A few months later on a tour, Waylon gave up his seat on Holly's plane to The Big Bopper, who had the flu.  The plane crashed six miles from the airport, on what some call "the day the music died."  And the plane was not named American Pie, contrary to the legend; it actually had no name. 

According to Waylon, on a VH-1 Behind the Music special, "The Day the Music Died," he and Holly good-naturedly kidded each other about Jennings' decision. Holly told Jennings, "I hope your ol' bus freezes up!" and Jennings replied, "Yeah? Well I hope your ol' plane crashes!" For years Waylon would not talk about his time with Holly because it was too painful.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

One hero sings about another: Waylon Jennings' song "Bob Wills Is Still The King."

By Jack Brummet, CW Ed.

Waylon Jennings' tribute to the Kings of Western Swing, Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys.   Interestingly, the Rolling Stones covered this song a few years ago...and did a bang-up job. He is beloved in Texas, and the other 49 states.   I saw Asleep At The Wheel perform a Bob Wills tribute show--at a beautiful auditorium at the University of Texas when I was in Austin a few years ago. It was heartbreakingly good, and so is hero singing about another hero.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day by David Peele and the lower east side

By Jack Brummet, 70's Music Ed.

A probably less than uplifting view of Mother's Day.  A couple years later, David Peele became friends with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and they performed together numerous times.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Charlie Parker plays "Air Conditioning"

By Jack Brummet, Jazz Ed.

Air Conditioning is one of my very favorite Charlie Parker songs. I first heard it on a Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker LP, "Groovin' High," and it's been a top tune ever since. . .


Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Grateful Dead's amazing Wall of Sound system, ca. 1973

By Jack Brummet, Music Ed.

I saw the Grateful Dead play in front of their wall of sound in Vancouver, B.C. in 1973.  It was amazing.  And quickly abandoned because it was so expensive to set up and transport (they had to have two sets leapfrogging each other on the tour).

It just sounded phenomenal.   Apparently one reason bands play so loud is that loud music overrides some of the delays and muddiness in sound.  Because the wall was so clear, they didn't need volume.  And the many speakers covered any hall or stadium with a gigantic wave of clear sound. They didn't need to turn it up to 11.

"The Grateful Dead sound system is really 11 independent systems or channels as shown in the table  below.  The source of sound are located behind and above the performers so they hear what the audience hears.  Only one source location for each channel is used to cover the entire hall and the music is clearer both on stage and in the audience.  The stereo effect is very satisfying and natural to persons all over the hall.  Intermodulation distortion between instruments is of course non-existent." - from